Achieving a work-life balance can prove to be quite a challenge, especially to first-time mothers and I felt the same after 15+ years of my career after my daughter was born .
Whether one is a stay-at-home entrepreneur or a corporate executive; being a mother is already a full-time job, but maintaining your professional career concurrently is definitely not easy.
After experiencing motherhood I felt guilty for few months for working from 9 to 6 and then devoting rest of the day for my daughter who was few months old then . It was important for me to understand and remember that keeping up with responsibilities 24/7 is impossible hence I stood my ground and stuck to the following tips to ensure I achieve a work life balance and manage my work and daughter together.
- Let the guilt go – There were times I was guilty for spending hours at work leaving my daughter but then I immediately thought of the positives of working ,besides the obvious added financial support ,it improves the family’s way of life .Time and again thinking about the benefits of working and that we will be able to save for our daughter’s education is how I never let myself consumed by the guilt.
- Learn the art of delegation –I learnt to acknowledge that I cant do everything on my own and that’s when I started deciding what I must do myself and what my team can take care of .At home too between me and my husband work was divided and I ensured that for house chores had a help to take care of it so that I am able to spend time with my daughter once home
- Work smarter not harder – Draw a line between home and work
One of the greatest lesson’s life has taught me specially after I became a mother is to say NO to things that don’t align with my priorities. Learn to set boundaries so that you can give your heart and soul to both the aspects of life. I always left work at work and never came home with it until my daughter was at least 2 years. While spending time with your kids and partner, don’t be on the phone sending emails or discussing work with coworkers.
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4.Talk it out with your immediate boss /HR
After I joined my office post my maternity leaves I had a transparent and open communication with my boss on various solutions /alternatives to ensure both my performance at work and my personal life doesn’t get impacted e.g kept my working hours flexible ,tele-commute whenever possible ,not being available on weekends for conference calls etc . Once you keep your conversations clear and honest it helps in setting expectations at both the ends (employee and employer)
5.Make time for yourself–Don’t shy away from taking some personal time off
As much as other things like work, relationships take priority in our life, I learnt that its important to take out time for self. Take at least 30 minutes of uninterrupted “you time.” It will not only help you but also your relationship with others will be benefitted .It might get tough for a new mom to follow it religiously everyday therefore there were times if I could not chant since i practice Buddhism, I would go out for walk with my daughter in her pram ,this way I she enjoyed being in fresh air while I enjoyed my music
These are just a few examples of the kinds of activities that will helped me to maintain a better work-life balance after experiencing motherhood but really, it’s all about finding out what YOU want to do and attempting the balance that with your working life too.
Just remember, you only get one life, so you might as well enjoy it
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Author is a recent mother, and some who has worked for 16 years in strategic roles with some of India’s top companies